Category Archives: Mindsensors Hardware

RGB LED Strip Controller for LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or NXT

Some may have seen my article, “Using WS2812B Addressable RGB LED Strips with Arduinos“, back in September? As can be seen in that article, controlling Addressable LEDs is pretty straight forward with a basic knowledge of the I2C protocol. I had planned to cobble together interface to allow RGB LED Strip to be Controller by either a LEGO Mindstorms NXT or EV3 Brick, but my teaching commitments and over projects seemed to have forced the idea onto the back-burner. Thanks to Mindsensor, I have no need to warm up the soldering for the idea as they have come up with a ready assembled interface.

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Coloured Ball Sorting Crane


Good things do sometimes come from disasters. A couple of days ago I was attempting to lift down approximately 5Kg of assorted LEGO parts when the container took advantage of gravity, and headed straight to the floor. This ended in a completely empty storage container, and LEGO dispersed for metres about. Towards the end of the cleanup, I came across a pair of Green Mudgaurds from a LEGO Technics 8291 Green Dirt Bike.

Mindstorms EV3 Dual-Wheeled Holonomic Platform

Technicolour Holonomic Platform
I have been working on an LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Holonomic Platform, with Dual-Wheels on each of its three sides. It is controlled via a Sony PlayStation Wireless Remote Control. The PS2 Remote interfaces to the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Brick via Mindsensors PSP-Nx-v4 Adapter.

LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Ball Catching Robot.

EV3 Ball Catching Robot
This robot is a very clever design using the Mindsensors NXTCam-v4. Actually two of them for stereo vision. The instantaneous response of the Delta Robot design for catching the ball is outstanding choice by the owner Dillon Sharlet!

EVShield: Arduino Shield for EV3 & NXT Motors & Sensors have a new Arduino Shield being readied for release in the near future. You can use it to make Robots with ‘Arduino Brains‘, using either LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or NXT Motors, Sensors, and other Arduino compatible parts. If you wish, you can also attach a selection of available Arduino Shields on top of the EVShield.

NXShield: Arduino Powered LEGO Holonomic Platform

I have just developed a LEGO Mindstorms Holonomic Platform Robot powered by an OpenElectrons NXShield for the Arduino Mega.

I have just had 4 day up at Burnie on Tasmania’s North-west coast at the “Brixhibition Burnie” with my Robots. Among the robots I took was a OpenElectrons NXShield Powered Holonomic Platform which survived the abuse from the general public who where controlling it for some 18hrs, without it missing a beat.

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Bin Emptying Robot – Mark III

This is a LEGO Mindstorms NXT “Bin Emptying Robot Mark III”. It is part of a larger project I have been working on, my “Ball Sorting Factory“. A forklift delivers full Bins of balls to be emptied. The Emptied bins are then taken away to the processing facility to be refilled. The Mark II version worked well, but was a little unreliable, unlike this version. Like the previous version, it uses a “Ball Repository” to store, mix and reload the Production Line with Balls when the “Ball Sorting Factory” needs them.

Power the Mindsensors SensorMUX from a 9V Battery

The SensorMUX is a multiplexer to connect 4x NXT sensors to single NXT port. The multiplexer can connect any sensor designed for Mindstorms NXT, both LEGO and/or third party sensors. The SensorMUX is requires an external battery source supplying a voltage range between 6 and 8.4 volts to operate.

What’s inside your Mindsensors GlideWheel-M

My Mindsensors GlideWheel-M decided to die on me at a most in convenient time whilst building the Mark II version of my Bin Emptying Robot. I was forced to use limit switches instead. After talking to Deepak Patil from Mindsensors, he suggested I take a knife in hand and disassemble it. The process was straight forwad enough, provided you kept the blade to the edge of the sensor. You are restricted to around 5mm at the sensors edge. Go any further in and you risk damaging the electronic components.

Mounting a Mindsensors GlideWheel-M to a Worm Gear

The Mindsensors GlideWheel-M, Power Functions (PF) Motor controller for the NXT is designed to control PF motors from NXT. Providing high precision speed and rotation control, in an easy to use design. The GlideWheel-M PF Motor controller allows direct connection of PF Motors to your NXT. No extra power needed as Power for the motors is supplied from NXT’s Motor Port.

Mindsensors GlideWheel-M PF Motor Controller

I have received a pair of Mindsensors’ GlideWheel-Ms, [powerfunction] Motor Controllers to Beta-Test. The GlideWheel-M is a motor controller for [powerfunction] (PF) Motors that allows you to connect [powerfunction] Motors to NXT Motor Ports. Using the built in encoder, the GlideWheel-M, allows rotational control of [powerfunction] Motors.

NXT Beer & Soft Drink Bottle Opener

After seeing a couple of LEGO Mindstorms NXT Bottle Openers on the net, I decided to tackle building my own… The task turned out to be somewhat more difficult than I envisaged. The most difficult part by far was the Gripper Mechanisms, as they had to securely hold the Bottle and it’s cap in a manor that allowed them to be unscrewed.

Quad Track: IR-Ball Seeking Crane

This is my LEGO Mindstorms NXT Quad Caterpillar Track Crane, which uses my ‘Ultimate Grab‘ to pick-up and retrieve a Hitechnic Infra-Red Electronic Ball. The Chassis houses 2x NXT Motors to drive the Left and Right pairs of Tracks. A third NXT Motor is used to raise and lower the crane arm. A Small PowerFunctions Motor is used to open and close my Ultimate Crane Claw attachment. The Small PowerFunctions Motor is controlled via a Mindsensors Multiplexer for NXT Motors (NXTMMX-v2). The NXTMMX allows the NXT to control two additional NXT or other LEGO Motors.

Li-Po Batteries & LEGO Mindstorm NXT

Both the LEGO 7.4 Volt Rechargeable Batteries for Mindstorms NXT (Part #x1678 & #bb495), are of Lithium-ion Polymer construction. Lithium-ion polymer batteries, polymer lithium ion, or more commonly lithium polymer batteries (abbreviated Li-poly, Li-Pol, LiPo, LIP, PLI or LiP) are rechargeable batteries (secondary cell batteries). Normally batteries are composed of several identical secondary cells in parallel addition to increase the discharge current capability.

LEGO PF to NXT Adapter Cable

I really despise the NXT Motor design. The shape of the motor was basically just designed to allow construction of the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Kit’s, AlphaOne‘ Robot easy. As a result, it makes it hard to use the NXT Motors in a lot of situations without extra bulk being added to your design. Often I just ditch the NXT Motor in preference for a LEGO Power Functions Motor. The downside to this approach is you have no feedback from the Power Functions Motors, unlike the NXT Motors with their Quadrature Rotary Encoders. You can use a LEGO Mindstorms RCX Rotation Sensor for a lot of applications.

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